Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Fit for a King!

Hyde Bank Farm dates back to the seventeenth century and has had a wealth of important historical figures living there over the years.

Built in 1655, it was once home to some of England’s Royals. The farm was built for Anne Hyde, who went on to marry King James II.

Anne was the daughter of Edward Hyde, the Earl of Clarendon. She met James when he was Duke of York and they secretly married on 3 September 1660.

The Duchess of York was a woman of great intellect but little beauty and she died of cancer in 1671, 14 years before James was crowned King of England in 1685.

Another important figure to reside at the farm was Samuel Oldknow. Oldknow lived at Hyde Bank in Romiley during the late eighteenth century, whilst his cotton mill was built in Mellor.

During his time he reshaped and industrialised the area. One of his biggest achievements was the Peak Forest Canal, which runs underneath Hyde Bank Farm and helped with the transportation of industrial goods.

The farm first fell into the hands of the Blackhurst family in 1910 and has remained in their care ever since. Comprising of five houses and a barn, Hyde Bank has been able to accommodate the whole family for almost 100 years.

Mary Taylor Augusta and her husband Samuel Dore were the first family members to rent Hyde Bank in 1910. Back then it was a mixed farm, consisting of beef and dairy cattle and horses.

In 1926 Samuel died and Mary retired, leaving her Grandson Harold to take over the farm. Harold Dore took tenancy in 1933 and the farm continued to be self sufficient, producing eggs, milk, potatoes and grain.

One of the farm’s main forms of income was a local milk round. Before World War II, a bike and side-car was used to take large jugs of milk around the area. Harold would then go into each house and pour the milk into glasses or jugs.

During the war, the farm was designated a patch to deliver milk and eggs to, which included around 400 houses. The preferred method of transport switched to a horse and cart, before the milk cart was finally introduced.

In 1939 milking machines were introduced and supermarkets came along, slowly forcing the rounds down. At its peak, the farm was delivering 1600 pints of milk a day, compared to just 600 now.

It became uneconomical to produce milk at Hyde Bank Farm, but the Blackhursts’ carried on for as long as possible. They were the last farm in the area to produce their own milk, before they had to start buying it in.

Without the demand for local milk, the farm began to struggle and the family had to act quickly. This resulted in the diversification of Hyde Bank, which now makes its main income from a popular tearoom and function room.

The oldest member of the family, 74-year-old David William Blackhurst, remembers his home when it was full working farm and is disappointed that it has had to change. He said: “Each member of the family will have different ideas about whether the changes are good or bad, I personally think they are negative changes but for a positive outcome.”

“I miss it being a fully functioning farm, but if we hadn’t done something we would have lost our home, so in that respect the tea room has been a very positive move. It is just a shame that we needed to do it in the first place.”


Supermarkets are pushing milk prices up but Stockport farmers will not reap the benefits.

Cost rises are not set to increase the demand for local milk rounds, as they are a result of dairy products being imported from China.

This is a further blow to farmers in the area who are struggling to keep profits up and must open their barn doors to the public in order to survive.

The outbreak of diseases such as Foot and Mouth and Mad Cow disease have had a serious effect on farms across the country and local farmers are feeling the strain.

Hyde Bank Farm in Romiley has recently opened a function room to go with its already popular tearoom. Owners, the Blackhurst family, have completely reshaped the farm to prevent economic ruin.

Like many dairy farms in the area, Hyde Bank once got its main income from a milk round, but due to the emergence of supermarkets there is now a lack of demand for locally produced milk.

The farm’s owner, 43-year-old Alan Blackhurst, lives with his wife, two sons and daughter at Hyde Bank. It is also home to his parents and his brother’s family.

Fifteen years ago the farm was making enough money to support all three families, but this is no longer the case. Alan blames the Government and supermarkets for the problems facing farms.

He said: “Supermarkets dictate prices, so if they are selling milk cheaply we have to follow suit and then it becomes uneconomical to produce it.”

“On top of this, the Government has been no help to farmers. Tony Blair just did not have a clue what to do when the diseases broke out and subsequently left things too late to allow us to recover.”

The tearoom is now very successful and the function room is set to follow in its footsteps, but although the changes have been positive in many ways, the family has had to sacrifice a lot.

Hyde Bank Farm has been in the family for generations and Alan has been a farmer for over 20 years. He said: “It has been a very stressful time and the hours are still very long. We probably have even less time to spend with the each other now than we did when it was a working farm.”

“I loved the farming and I do miss it, but needs must. It was quite a wrench getting rid of the cattle, but at least the changes have kept the family on the farm.”

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Holly makes a boob!!

Dancing on Ice presenter, Holly Willoughby, has had more media attention than a Hollywood movie star recently and all she had to do was wear a low cut dress!

The 'offending' dress is shown in the picture on the right and has caused outcry all over England. Although her boobs are clearly well settled in the dress, many viewers were worried they might escape!

Newspaper blogs such as The Daily Mail and The Sun contained comments from parents who felt uncomfortable watching the show with their children!!

One comment, published by "Sunfly" on the Sun's entertainment blog, read "MORE BIMBO`S AND CRAP ON OUR SMALL SCREENS!!"
Interesting comment from a reader of the Sun!!

Even when Holly donned a black dress the following week which completely covered her chest, she still outraged viewers when they realised it was backless. Apparently her bum was now in danger of revealing itself!

The show is full of short and barely there dresses worn by the skating contestants, with Holly ironically being one of the most covered up women on Dancing on Ice!!!

Image Link

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Nice to see you, to see you….nice!!!

One of televisions most popular entertainers celebrated his 80th birthday yesterday! Brucie bonus!!

Star of such well-known programmes as Play Your Cards Right, Generation Game and most recently Strictly Come Dancing, Bruce Forsyth is still going strong at the grand old age of 80!

The media have paid tribute to his career in showbiz, with Natasha Kaplinsky featuring Brucie on Five News.

Best known for his catchphrases, Bruce Forsyth is somewhat of a British institution.

Forsyth is one of those characters you either love or detest! His performances are textbook and his jokes as obvious as you can get, but something has kept him at the top for the last 50 odd years! He has split the opinion of the nation, with some finding him repulsive and others regarding him as a living legend!

One story by Lorna Cooper describes how some bloggers turned against Bruce after the latest Strictly Come Dancing series, believing him to be “past it”.

Whatever your opinion of him, you cannot deny that the man has done well for himself over the decades!

Happy Birthday Brucie!!!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Monday, 11 February 2008


Last night saw the BAFTA awards come to London’s Royal Opera House and, after a two-hour delay, to our screens.

With Jonathon Ross presenting, the ceremony was bound to be littered with mockery and jokes and we were not disappointed.

Atonement only managed to win two of the 14 categories it was nominated for, but scooped the coveted “Best Film” award making it the big winner of the evening.

To the audience’s delight, Shane Meadows received the “Best British Film” award for “This is England”, a film partly based on his own life. His speech also went down a treat, with his “man-boobs” joke bringing the ceremony back down to earth.

Surprise winner of the “Best Actress” award, for her performance in French film, “La Vie En Rose”, was Marion Cotillard. Equally unexpected was the prize for “Best Supporting Actress” going to “Michael Clayton” star Tilda Swinton.

It proved to be a good night for subtitled films, with “La Vie En Rose” winning four awards and German drama, “The Lives Of Others”, winning “Best Film not in the English Language”.

“Best Actor” was always going to be awarded to Daniel Day-Lewis for his role in the recently released film, “There Will Be Blood” and he accepted his award in his usual humble form.

Anthony Hopkins deservedly received the Academy fellowship for his work.

In all, it was an enjoyable evening, with the usual glitz and glamour and the odd star who seemed to take the ceremony too seriously or failed miserably at reading the auto-cue without making it obvious they were doing so!
“Best acceptance speech” award would definitely have to go to Shane Meadows for being genuine and good-natured.